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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2015 Oct;70(10):2734-8. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkv191. Epub 2015 Jul 14.

Effective transfer of a 47 kb NDM-1-positive plasmid among Acinetobacter species.

Author information

Institute of Molecular and Genomic Medicine, National Health Research Institutes, Zhunan, Taiwan.
National Institute of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, National Health Research Institutes, Zhunan, Taiwan.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Min-Sheng General Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan.
Director-General's Office, Centers for Disease Control, Taipei, Taiwan Department of Internal Medicine, and Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan.
Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan.
Institute of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore.
Institute of Molecular and Genomic Medicine, National Health Research Institutes, Zhunan, Taiwan Institute of Genomics and Bioinformatics, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Bacterial Enteric and Emerging Diseases Laboratory, Center for Research, Diagnostics and Vaccine Development, Centers for Disease Control, Taipei, Taiwan.
Institute of Molecular and Genomic Medicine, National Health Research Institutes, Zhunan, Taiwan Department of Life Sciences and Institute of Genome Sciences, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan



To investigate the link between two NDM-1-positive Acinetobacter isolates from the same hospital, the plasmid profiles of the isolates were examined. These two isolates were found from a surveillance programme within 3 months from two patients without obvious physical contact or hospitalization time overlap.


Antimicrobial susceptibility tests, genome sequencing of both isolates and plasmid transfer experiments were performed. A comparative study of similar plasmids was performed using BLAST analysis.


The antimicrobial susceptibility of the isolates (Acinetobacter soli M131 and Acinetobacter pittii MS32) and their Escherichia coli transconjugants revealed a conjugative plasmid that carried the carbapenem resistance determinant. Eleven plasmids were observed in M131 and three in MS32. Each isolate shared an identical plasmid that carried the blaNDM-1 gene. This 47 271 bp plasmid harbours a conserved blaNDM-1-containing region that is flanked by ISAba125 and ISAba11 elements, and also contains a Ti-type conjugative operon. The plasmid is nearly identical in sequence to those of Acinetobacter isolates from China. In contrast to the mobilization of the blaNDM-1 sequence in Enterobacteriaceae, which is mainly by transposition, this plasmid moves as a whole among Acinetobacter species. Consistently, this plasmid was found to transfer effectively by in vitro conjugation to several Acinetobacter species.


The clinical and laboratory findings suggest that Acinetobacter species may serve as a reservoir of this blaNDM-1 plasmid. Our study demonstrates the potential of applying genome sequencing to the surveillance of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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